NOVEMBER 20, 1969

CANADIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION IN R V. DRYBONES—DISCRIMINATION VIOLATIVE OF NATION’S BILL OF RIGHTS.

On April 10, 1967, Joseph Drybones pleaded guilty to being an Indian intoxicated off a reserve in contravention of section 94(b) of the Indian Act.  Drybones appealed and won a trial de novo.  Among other arguments, Drybones’ counsel argued that section 94(b), in providing legal sanctions more severe than equivalent sections of the Liquor Ordinance applying to non-Indians, contravened the appellant’s equality before the law under Section 1(b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights.  On that basis, on June 5, 1967, the Northwest Territories (NWT) Territorial Court allowed the appeal and acquitted Drybones.  On August 25, 1967, the NWT Court of Appeal dismissed the Crown’s application for leave to appeal, affirming Drybones’s acquittal.  On November 20, 1969, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court of Canada followed suit arguing that to rule otherwise is to legitimize the equivalent of the separate but equal doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson.   As a result, section 94 was repealed by Parliament in 1971.

Source:
  R v. Drybones [1970], S.R.C. 282.  Retrieved 8/13/2020, https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1969/1969canlii1/1969canlii1.html.
Photo:  NewYork 1956 at English Wikipedia, 3/12/2012. Public Domain.

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